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Re: [dvd-discuss] 120 years and still not in the public domain

On Thursday, October 2, 2003, at 02:40  PM, Dean Sanchez wrote:

> I would tend to disagree with that assessment.  That is the same 
> reasoning used by the groups that push for standards that are 
> encumbered by royalties or copyrights - the idea that one company or 
> group should have control because "they can ensure that the standards 
> are maintained".  I don't agree with that argument, either.   There 
> are numerous standards that are in the public domain.
It really depends on what is meant by "maintaining standards". If the 
maintenance is limited to ensuring that years into the future, widgets 
are still designed to the original specifications-- pshaw-- any 
trustworthy organization can look a the standard, look at the widget, 
and declare whether the widget meets the standard.
On the other hand, if standards maintenance necessarily implies a 
continual updating of the standard, then a single authority may be 

Presumably, the Hotel is stocked with books younger than 95 years. 
Therefore, the assignation of  Dewey Decimal Numbers to those books is 
protected by copyright. (The classification is non obvious, and the 
product of intellectual effort. I seem to remember a suit by WestLaw 
against a would be competitor over the use of its classification 
system. It might be relevant here.)

Now, if the hotel simply organizes its rooms based on the original 
Dewey schema, paying no particular attention to the official numbers, 
it does not infringe on copyright (unless, of course, there is a 
"Extreme Sports" Room. see 
http://www.oclc.org/news/announcements/announcement40.htm) .  A good 
many books print their LCC records up front, including a dcc number. 
This may be a Dewey Decimal Number. If so, would merely consulting the 
front matter, and placing it in the appropriate room infringe?. I doubt 
it, though IANAL.

The only infringing activity I can think of is if the library hotel 
staff regularly consulted some other library to get the correct 
numbers. To that, I would say, get your own damn OCLC subscription...